FALL 1998

Sporting lives

I was delighted to see the write-up on the Soccer Redmen and the picture of my son Peter in the McGill News (Spring'98).

To fill out the story a bit: Peter hails from a proud McGill athletic tradition. His grandfather, Hayden Bryant, DDS'41, was a champion high jumper for McGill in the late '30s. I played hockey and a little football in the '60s. Jackie, Peter's younger sister, missed the excitement in Halifax because she was at Laval with the Martlets, who were pursuing their quest for the women's soccer title.

Chris Bryant, BA'65
Hammonds Plains, N.S.

Letter from a late lord

The article in the latest issue of the McGill News concerning the treasures in the Division of Rare Books and Special Collections is very interesting and welcome news, since these treasures will now be more readily available to researchers.

While I always knew that McGill had some great rarities in its collections, I never knew before that they had a letter from the "great beyond." I refer to the letter described on page 15 as having been written by Alfred, Lord Tennyson, in 1894. This must have been written from another world since the gentleman in question died in 1892.

Actually, looking at the illustration on the same page, the second-to-last digit in the date looks suspiciously like an "8," so perhaps it is from this world after all.

Fred F. Angus, BEng'59
Montreal, Que.

Ed note: We congratulate Fred Angus on his remarkable eyesight and wish ours had been as acute. The letter is indeed dated 1884, and therefore was in no sense ghost-written. Mr. Angus also notes that the items in the Division will be "more readily available to researchers." True, certainly, but we remind readers that staff would welcome anyone interested in viewing the collections.

Blotting our escutcheon

I'm sorry to see the McGill News perpetuating an all-too-common mistake by referring to McGill's "crest" (Summer'98, page 25). McGill has no crest. McGill has arms (and let's forgo the usual tired jokes), which, like the arms of most universities, do not include a crest. If you want an example of academic heraldry that does incorporate a crest, check out the arms of the University of Toronto.

Nigel H. Richardson, BA'51, MA'54
via e-mail

Ed note: Thanks to Nigel Richardson for the lesson. It is the shield, or escutcheon, which bears the University's coat of arms. The crest is any figure appearing above the shield -- a tree in the case of the University of Toronto. Readers should also be grateful to Mr. Richardson for firmly nipping in the bud the urge to make a bad joke, one we might otherwise have found irresistible.

Ah, bureaucracy ...

The story in your Spring'98 issue about the U.S. border guard who would not accept a McGill diploma written in Latin strikes a familiar chord.

After earning a BA and an MSc from McGill and a PhD from Columbia, I decided to settle in New York City and applied for U.S. citizenship. Told to prove I had graduated from high school and not having available a diploma from my Winnipeg high school, I thought I would overwhelm the immigration official by returning the next day with all three university degrees.

I was taken aback when he sneered, "This stuff does not prove that you graduated from high school." So I was sent to another room where I was given a written test. I passed, fortunately, and was eventually rewarded with a U.S. passport, which I now safeguard along with my three (unrecognized) diplomas.

Alfred B. Udow, BA'39, MSc'40
Great Neck, N.Y.

Mastering degrees

The Summer'98 issue of the McGill News contained much of interest, as usual, for my wife Lois, BSc(Agr)'40, and me, MSc'40.

It also contained an error. On page 34 there are items of news about graduates of the Faculty of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. One of them is listed as Suzanne Carrière, BSc'87, MSc(Agr)'91.

The MSc is a research degree. The quite different MSc(Agr) degree was established a few years ago primarily for the benefit of government employees, graduates in agriculture with many years of experience in advisory/administrative positions who could not take the time required to complete the research requirements of the MSc degree. They followed special courses given at Macdonald Campus over a series of summers.

Another graduate listed is Colin G. D'Silva, PhD(Agr)'95. Although such a degree is conferred in some European countries, I have not encountered it in North America.

It is unfortunate that the alumni journal should have slipped from the path of righteousness in such a way.

W.E. Sackston, MSc'40
Emeritus Professor of Plant Pathology

Ed note: Ms. Carrière has the real deal, as does Colin D'Silva. The extra designation "Agr" comes from the University's database, which shows the area of concentration, and should not have been included as part of the degree.

Yearning for a yearbook?

I read the letter from Don and Ann Budge in the last issue and was able to replace their lost 1959 edition of Old McGill. The Students' Society of McGill University has plenty of back copies available for sale. Yearbooks from 1899-1990 are $20, 1991-93 are $30 and 1994-present are $35, plus shipping, handling and taxes. Interested alumni may contact me at the University Centre, 3480 McTavish St., Montreal, Que. H3A 1X9, (514) 398-6809 or e-mail

Olga Patrizi, BEd'93
Office and Services Manager, SSMU

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In the last issue, a line was inadvertently cut from the obituary honouring former principal Dr. Rocke Robertson. The final sentence should have read: "Robertson is survived by his wife of 61 years, Beatrice Rosalyn Arnold, who created the medicinal herb garden near the McIntyre Medical Sciences Building, and their four children, Tam, Ian, Bea and Stuart, plus nine grandchildren and two great-grandchildren." We sincerely regret the omission. The photo of Dr. Robertson was provided by McGill Archives (Ref: PL001740) and was originally taken by Brian Smith.